Parenting

Dad’s heartbreaking post after losing partner to postnatal depression: “Seek help early on”

Tragic. A heartbroken dad has penned a moving note to his late partner, who he says eventually lost her battle with postnatal depression.

Aaron Harbertson is now urging all mums to make sure they are getting all the support they need.

Dad’s tragic tribute to his late partner who lost her life to postnatal depression

Aaron reveals all seemed fine on the outside with his partner Charlotte Masterson following the birth of their gorgeous son Hugo in November 2016.

However, behind closed doors, it seems Charlotte was struggling to fight her inner demons and in June 2019 she tragically took her own life.

Posting to Facebook, the devastated dad wrote: “It’s with great sadness to say that Charlotte Masterson passed away last night after a long battle with post-natal depression and alcoholism.

“To Charlotte, you are the love of my life and gave me the greatest gift possible, a beautiful little boy. It will haunt me for the rest of my life how it went from the pure happiness and love in this photo to this.

“I promise to you that I will raise Hugo into the gentleman you would have wanted him to become, tell him stories every day about how kind, caring and beautiful you are.”

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Aaron is urging all mums and dads to make sure that they look after themselves and keep their mental health in check.

He added: “To any women having or planning to have a baby, please take post-natal depression seriously, make sure you seek help early on and get out as much as possible to baby groups. Don’t let it ruin your family like it has mine.

“To their partners, keep a close eye on them and look out for all of the early symptoms. The earlier it is addressed then less likely it will transform into something fatal.”

Thank you Aaron for giving us permission to share your post and story. Our hearts go out to you and your son.

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Symptoms of postnatal depression

Due to the relentless, tiring nature of motherhood, some mums can experience some symptoms of PND without having PND.

So the diagnosis is dependent on how much symptoms interfere with daily life. Look out for persistent patterns of:

  • Anxiety surrounding the health or safety of the baby
  • Obsessive-compulsive thoughts or behaviors
  • Panic attacks characterized by heart palpations, difficulty breathing, physically shaking
  • Unpredictable mood swings
  • Feeling depressed, teary or on edge for no reason
  • Losing interest in eating, socializing, being with family, your partner and baby
    • Lack of sleep or sleeping constantly
    • Getting angry or irritated easily
  • Feeling exhausted and having no energy
  • Lack of concentration
  • Participating in irresponsible and risky behavior
    • Thoughts of harming yourself and/or your baby.

Seek help

Motherhood has good and bad days. If it feels like it’s just all bad, seek help immediately as the earlier the better for your recovery.

There are many effective treatments for PND, depending on the severity of symptoms and personal situation.

  • Support groups: if your symptoms are mild, in conjunction with seeing your GP, you may find it is helpful to seek out support groups where you can share experiences and similarities between each other.
  • Counselling: there are two very effective types of therapies used in treating PND:
    • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT identifies and challenges negative thinking that becomes automatic over time, causing you to feel worse. With professional help, you can learn how to identify, rationalize and challenge these negative thoughts and beliefs about your experience of motherhood. CBT also involves goal orientation, that encourages you to identify and seek out the upsides in your life giving you a more positive association with motherhood.
    • Interpersonal therapy (IPT): Works by looking at possible life events associated with PND. Perhaps you’ve experienced previous loss or traumatic events. IPT provides you with strategies to resolve the feelings associated with these events.
  • Antidepressants: Unfortunately the above treatments may not work for you. It is important you visit your doctor to have a conversation and assessment of the severity of your symptoms. Your doctor may refer you to a mental health professional in conjunction with antidepressants.

If you suspect you have PND, see your GP as soon as possible, help is available.

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